How to Speed Up Package Downloads and Updates with apt-fast on Ubuntu 20.04

Have you ever experienced slow download speed when downloading or updating packages in Ubuntu, even if your network connection is working fine? This problem mainly occurs when you update and install packages for the first time after installing a new Ubuntu operating system. However, there is a way to work around this problem by speeding up the download speed with the apt-fast command in Linux.

Apt-fast is a shell script wrapper for “apt-get” and “aptitude” that harnesses the power of both axel and aria 2 download managers to speed up the download process. It improves download performance by downloading multiple packages per connection simultaneously and in parallel.

In this article, I will show you how to install and configure apt-fast to speed up the package update and download process in Ubuntu. We use Ubuntu 20.04 LTS for the description of the procedure mentioned in this article.

Step 1: Installing prerequisites

We need to install axel or aria2 in order to use apt-fast. These are command-line based Linux download managers. They help to download multiple files simultaneously and act as download accelerators.

Run the following command in Terminal to install either axel or aria2:

$ sudo apt-get install axel


$ sudo apt-get install aria2

For this article, we will use axel.

Install Axel download manager

Step 2: Installing apt-fast

Now we are prepared for installing apt-fast. Follow the below steps in order to install apt-fast.

1. Add the required PPA to your list of software resources by running the following command in Terminal:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:apt-fast/stable

Add apt-fast PPA

2. After adding PPA, update your local apt repository by running the following command in Terminal:

$ sudo apt-get update

Update Ubuntu Packages

3. Then run the following command in Terminal to install apt-fast:

$ sudo apt-get -y install apt-fast

Installing apt-fast

During the installation of apt-fast, a window will appear asking you to perform some package configuration.

When the following screen appears, select apt if you are using apt command or apt-get if you mostly use apt-get command to install packages. Finally, hit Enter to move to the next step.

Use apt for apt-fast

Now choose the maximum number of connections allowed. Hit Enter to move on to next step.

Max connections

If you want, you can also set maximum number of connections later using the _MAXNUM variable in the configuration file.

When the following screen appears, choose yes, and press Enter.

Apt-fast Dialog

Step 3: Configuring apt-fast

After the installation is completed, we will need to do a basic configuration. The default configuration file of apt-fast is at /etc/apt-fast.

1. Run the following command in Terminal to edit the configuration file in the editor:

$ sudo nano /etc/apt-fast.conf

2. In the configuration file, add the comma-separated mirrors in the following syntax:

MIRRORS=( ‘,’)

You can use the following Ubuntu’s official mirror page and add the nearest mirrors based on your geographical location.

3. Also add the mirrors that are present in /etc/apt/sources.list in the apt-fast configuration file /etc/apt-fast.conf.

apt-fast Mirrors

Step 4: Using Apt-fast

Apt-fast is really simple to use, just use fast instead of get in the apt-get command. Following are the commands that you will require the most in order to use apt-fast:

To install a package using apt-fast, use the following command:

$ sudo apt-fast install package_name

For removing a package with apt-fast, the following command is used:

$ sudo apt-fast remove package_name

For updating packages using apt-fast, use the following command:

$ sudo apt-fast update

To upgrade a package using apt-fast, use the following command:

$ sudo apt-fast upgrade

Let’s see how apt-fast works by installing the Flash Player in Ubuntu. For that, run the following command in Terminal:

$ sudo apt-fast install flashplugin-installer

It will ask for confirmation, enter y to confirm.

Using apt-fast on Ubuntu

From the above results, you can see that it is downloading the flash player package using several connections.

That is all we required in order to install apt-fast for increasing download speed while installing and updating packages on Ubuntu. Now enjoy the faster downloading experience!